CBS Tees Up Pollster to Chide NRA

On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, co-host Rebecca Jarvis asked a pollster for a liberal anti-gun group what he thought of the NRA's response to the Newtown shooting.

CBS hosted Frank Luntz, a Republican strategist but also a pollster for Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Co-host Rebecca Jarvis asked him, "what do you make of the NRA's strategy here to say there should be someone in every school system in America holding a gun protecting the kids?"

"That's not quite the language that they used and if that was the language they used, they'd be even more opposed to it," responded Luntz, showing more fairness to the NRA than CBS did. He predictably criticized the NRA, though.

"The public wants guns out of the schools, not in the schools," Luntz continued. "And they are not asking for a security official or someone else. I don't think the NRA is listening. I don't think that they understand."

Co-host Jeff Glor had also asked Luntz how Republicans were faring in the talk over guns:

"Frank, you're a Republican strategist but you've also done some polling for the Bloomberg group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. I want to ask you, how are Republicans doing right now on the gun control debate?"

A transcript of the segment, which aired on CBS This Morning on December 26 at 7:09 a.m. EST, is as follows:

REBECCA JARVIS: Republican strategist Frank Luntz, a CBS News political analyst, has been talking with voters about the fiscal cliff and he joins us now. Frank, good morning.
 
FRANK LUNTZ, CBS News political analyst: Good morning.

JARVIS: So what are the chances you see this becoming the compromise, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's new deal on the table?

LUNTZ: I'm not sure if either side is watching very carefully and listening to what the American people think. We did a survey for the Republican Main Street Partnership, and we got two very interesting questions, one that's very tough on Republicans. When we asked the American people who is the GOP fighting for and representing? The number one answer, the rich. The number two answer, big business. Well, well back is number three, hard-working taxpayers. By the Republicans fighting this tax increase on the most wealthy Americans, the public looks at that and says once again the GOP is standing up for the rich. What the Democrats don't understand is that the hostility towards how much Washington spends, that this whole discussion over the last six weeks has been about raising taxes on the wealthy rather than cutting wasteful Washington spending.

JARVIS: Let's say we do get a deal, Frank, though, and it is the Harry Reid deal that might be on the table where it's short-term spending cuts and people don't have someone to blame because we don't go over the cliff but ultimately the markets don't like it, the world economy doesn't like it, investors in U.S. debt don't like it. And ultimately our currency becomes in jeopardy as the currency of the world. What happens then? Who do they blame?

LUNTZ: Well, at this point they are going to blame the Republicans because of the communication failures of the last six weeks, but I need to get at the core of this. You ask the American people to choose, or you even ask them if they can have both, tax increases and budget cuts. What they really want is to end the spending even more than raising the taxes. They will accept a tax increase on the wealthiest Americans, over 70 percent now support that tax increase. But an even higher percent support significant spending cuts, and that's not part of the Democratic package. So I'm saying is that both sides here have a problem with the American people and it's why Congress has an 11 percent job approval rating. Gadhafi had a 15 percent job approval rating, and that was among the people who killed him.

JEFF GLOR: Frank, you're a Republican strategist but you've also done some polling for the Bloomberg group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. I want to ask you, how are Republicans doing right now on the gun control debate?
 
LUNTZ: Well the public doesn't look at it as a Republican or Democratic issue. In fact, over the last three or four days, I think more people, more families, based on what I've heard, have spent time talking about their fear of gun violence than they have over the fiscal cliff. It's a completely different situation when you have little children killed than anything we've had before. And the public is asking, if not insisting, that something be done so this doesn't happen again.

GLOR: Does something get done, Frank?

LUNTZ: At this point, look, I know these people in Washington. Some of them may be watching now. They don't talk to each other. They don't have dialogue. They don't have conversations. This system in D.C., and the American people voted for it, they voted for these incumbents, they voted for the President, they voted to re-elect Republicans in the House. There is no compromise, and I think that's going to grow as a concern among the public as we move into 2013.

JARVIS: Frank, what do you make of the NRA's strategy here to say there should be someone in every school system in America holding a gun protecting the kids?

LUNTZ: That's not quite the language that they used and if that was the language they used, they'd be even more opposed to it. The public wants guns out of the schools, not in the schools. And they are not asking for a security official or someone else. I don't think the NRA is listening. I don't think that they understand. Most Americans would protect the Second Amendment rights and yet agree with the idea that not every human being should own a gun, not every gun should be available at any time anywhere for anyone. That gun shows, you should not be able to buy something right there and then without any kind of check whatsoever. What they are looking for is a common sense approach that says that those who are law-abiding should continue to have the right to own a weapon, but that you don't believe that the right should be extended to everyone at every time for every type of weapon.


 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014